Dukakis, Bulger talk policy with political science students at UMass Boston
Continuing a 17-year tradition, Michael Dukakis, the former three-term governor of Massachusetts, and William Bulger, the former president of the Massachusetts Senate and the University of Massachusetts, met with students in UMass Boston’s political science classes on Wednesday.
Students in Caroline Coscia’s public policy class and Ursula Tafe’s introduction to politics and political science class engaged in a discussion with the longtime politicians on progressive policies, health care, income inequality, affordable housing, public transportation, and education, among others.
Responding to a student’s question about how to get started in public service, Bulger recommended a hands-on approach. “I like the idea of starting out in elective office if you can do it. If you just jump into it, I like that idea and you’ll learn very fast by doing.”
Another student asked Dukakis if he would win a rematch of his 1988 presidential campaign against George H.W. Bush.
“Yeah,” Dukakis said, adding that he would do two things differently. “Unfortunately, if the other guy is going to come after you, you just can’t sit there and stay nothing. By the time I woke up to the fact that I was really starting to get hurt by the campaign, it was a little late in the day.
“The second thing was that I spent too much time talking to people I thought knew more than I did about winning the presidency, who poo-pooed the idea of a precinct-based national campaign. If I had a chance to do it all over again, I would have not made those very serious mistakes. Coulda, shoulda, woulda.”
In 1995, Dukakis arranged for funds left over from his presidential campaign to be disbursed to UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth, and Northeastern University to support public service internships for students, a program still in existence today. To express the university's gratitude, every year since 2000, Associate Professor of Political Science Maurice Cunningham has invited Dukakis and Bulger to speak to undergraduate political science classes and to participate in a luncheon with current and former Dukakis interns, political science students, and former members of the Dukakis administration.